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January 05, 2022
Say the word “childbirth” and most people will picture a woman on her back giving birth in a hospital on a bed. If you are one of the few people who don’t picture that, your next thought might be of somebody giving birth in a birth pool.
The idea of giving birth in water is really popular – the majority of my clients say they would love to. But what is it that attracts us to birthing in water? And why do people rave about it so much?
Here are my top 5 benefits of giving birth in water:
You know when you’ve got a sore back…or period pain…and so you run a gorgeous warm bath – that feeling when you get in! Ahhhhhh. That is the feeling that you get when you get into a birthing pool mid-labour.
Everything instantly relaxes, your contractions feel less intense because the warm water relaxes your muscles, and your bump feels less heavy as the buoyancy supports it.
Great pain relief, without any of the side affects that can come with pharmaceutical drugs.
Ever tried lying flat on your back in a swimming pool?! It’s pretty difficult! Which means that a birth pool is also great for keeping you in more upright positions. This is really helpful for a number of reasons – from helping to progress your labour to allowing your pelvis to expand as your baby descends.
Whatever position you choose to adopt in a birth pool, it is likely to be helpful one. And you certainly won’t be flat on your back on a bed (which is rarely going to do you any favours!)
We know that your likelihood of tearing as you give birth to your baby is considerably reduced when you give birth in water. This is due to a number of factors – from your positioning, to the warmth of the water, to you being physically more relaxed.
Tearing during birth is a big fear for many people, and unsurprisingly so as its pretty common - but knowing that you are reducing that risk with something so easy can be a great comfort.
I talk a lot about hormones on my courses! Because they do 90% of the work when it comes to labour and birth. Oxytocin – the hormone that is essential for labour to start and progress, and the hormone responsible for reducing your pain levels – will only flow when you are feeling calm, relaxed, safe and unobserved. The great news is that birth pools are known for helping you feel all of those things!
Women often describe getting into a birth pool as a bit like getting into their own little bubble. They are in control of their positioning, who comes near them and who can touch them. All these feelings (relaxed, calm, in control) also contribute to a feeling of positivity about your birth experience.
When you have an entire person inside your body, it isn’t generally the easiest thing to get up and down and change positions! (I know that it took me about ten minutes to get up off the sofa at 9 months pregnant…!!)
But during labour and birth, staying as active as possible is really helpful to keep labour progressing, to keep you feeling comfortable and to help your baby move into the most helpful positions. Its really important to listen to your body and follow your instincts and urges about which positions feel most comfortable – whether that is sitting, kneeling, lunging or on all fours.
Being in warm water means that you are supported and so can move into different positions much more easily.
Keep an open mind! We cannot predict what we will or will not want when we are labouring and giving birth. That is why I like you to have as much knowledge and as many tools as possible! So that you have options and can go with what feels best for you.
You might use a birthing pool to labour in, but then get out of the water to give birth on land. You might jump into the pool right at the last minute to birth your baby in the water. You might be in the water for much of your labour and birth. Or you might (despite spending weeks dreaming of a water birth) decide that the last thing you want at that moment is to be wet! Flexibility is key!
If you would like to know more about your options for birth – including the logistics of having a water birth and where you are most likely to have the option of a birth pool - get booked onto my 5-star rated hypnobirthing & antenatal course! Its all very good knowing this stuff in theory, but I support you with how to actually put it all into practice! Available in groups or 1:1, face to face (if you're local to Tonbridge, Kent) or online - you pick what suits you best! Get in touch if you have questions - I love to chat.
Beautiful photo by Wild Mama Photography
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